FNRL not happy with organisers

THE war of words continue between the Nadi Aviators Rugby League team and the parent body Fiji National Rugby League regarding the staging of the Nadi Aviators 9s tournament in Nadi today.

The FNRL earlier stated their disappointment against international groups which are organising tournaments to scout for local talents.

This, after rugby league greats Andrew Johns and Brad Fittler have teamed up with Nadi Aviators to stage a 9s tournament for local players to showcase their talents.

Responding to the above, Nadi Aviators president Joe Gray said the parent body was making things difficult for themselves.

He said having these two great rugby league ambassadors at our doorsteps was a huge milestone for rugby league in Fiji and to be accompanied by Channel 9 TV would be a huge boost for the sport and tourism Fiji.

“They are making things difficult for themselves and not for us,” said Gray.

“Their weaknesses is now evident for the fact that they cannot acknowledge and recognise the people from abroad who are movers and shakers in the game of rugby league and are ambassadors of rugby league who have chosen Fiji to come and select and scout for talents in Fiji and that is good thing for us.

“It’s a blessing in disguise to have these two rugby greats at our tournament, it’s a milestone achievement.

“Their presence alone is a great inspiration to the boys and gives them hope that there is hope within the fraternity of rugby league and their career that one day they could be featuring at the NRL and other countries.

“And the fact that these guys have come with Channel 9 who will be televising the game live, what more can we say, we could never afford and we are thankful for their time and having Fiji at heart that they come and actually to showcase the talents here in Nadi.”

He said these rugby league legends had been organising rugby league clinics and distributing rugby gears to schools and teams.

“Why are they being crucified and made the subject of this now, this is the not the first time they are coming, why didn’t they stop them then, why are they barking now.

“Nadroga boys have benefited and they have gone abroad, just because the games are held here in Nadi they are making noise and being negative about it. It’s equal opportunities to be shared about so what we have done is invite talents from Suva, Nadroga, Lautoka, Nadi, and everywhere to come because we all love the sport and we believe in this. But on the bright side will be the difference it will make for a boy who may have the skills and might be actually recognised and acknowledged.”

Responding to the above FNRL chief executive officer Timoci Naleba said there were lots of issues involved in the matter.

“There are lots of issues involved here but let’s start with the way in which the event was organised,” said Naleba.

“One of the current board’s objective is ensure that the interest of FNRL is protected and it is going to do it under the Articles of the Association. The FNRL is the governing body and it is the only body registered under law that promotes, foster and control the game in this country. Therefore it is imperative that anyone intending to organise a tournament of rugby league or any event related to rugby league must first register its interest with FNRL.

“It is high time that interested individuals, organisations and business to realise that there is a governing body which they will need to consult first. The point here is, how would the NRL or the ARLC feel if a person from Fiji walks in to Australia and organises a tournament using their players and their fan base without consulting them, of course they would not feel happy about it.

“For these very same reasons FNRL has worked so hard and spent money and resources to develop players and its fan base only to be exploited by individuals and organisations who fly in and then out again and make quick money overnight leaving without full realisation of the interest of FNRL and its stakeholders.”

Gray added the objective of this tournament was to showcase the skills and the potential we have in Fiji and it also promoted Nadi as a tourism town and the fact Channel 9 would be here to televise live.

“We would like to use this as a platform and actually continue every year and attract tourist arrival from Australia and other countries and maybe to attract some overseas teams to participate will be a success,” Gray added.

Meanwhile, IPS Pipe tech has donated $5000 for the 9s tournament while Ams Rental Cars gave $1000. BLK also offered more than $2000 on prizes for under 18 winners while Orchid Boutique and Palms have assisted with the accommodation.

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